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Mouse Consortium Completes First Phase of Mouse Genome Project

CAMBRIDGE, UK, May 8 - The public-private effort to sequence the mouse genome said Tuesday it has completed the first phase of its sequencing initiative.

The Mouse Sequencing Consortium has generated 3x coverage of the mouse genetic code, where each of the three billion DNA bases has been ‘read’ three times. Approximately 94 percent of the genome is now covered. 

The organisations that make up the $58 million consortium include the US National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, Glaxo SmithKline, the Merck Genome Research Institute and Affymetrix.

“Yet again, the collaborative effort of scientists, supported by government, industry and the Trust, has been rapidly rewarded, and the success of the project suggests that such collaborations should be a model for the future,” said Mike Dexter, director of the Wellcome Trust.

Scientists hope the comparisons between human and mouse genetic data will aid the discovery of new genes and the regions that control their expression. 

“This is a great day for finding genes in the human,” said Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. “Now we need to finish the work so the mouse sequence is as accurate and complete as the human sequence."

The announcement follows the news last month that Celera read the genetic code of the mouse and has assembled it into its correct order. Celera said it would provide subscriber-only access to its online database that allows researchers to compare various animal genomes, including that of the human, the mouse, the fly and the rat.

The MSC plans to finish its version of the mouse genome sequence and making the data freely available without restriction. The data can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Traces/trace.cgi  or http://trace.ensembl.org .